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Facts About Leap Day
Ever since leap years were introduced by Julius Caesar more than 2,000 years ago, Leap Day, February 29th, has been an exciting day full of intriguing customs, superstitions, and folklore throughout the world.
What is Leap Day?
Leap Day is February 29th, a day that only rolls around in most years that are divisible by four. Years with a leap day are called leap years. Leap day was instituted because the earth’s revolution around the sun accumulates an extra 24 hours every four years, necessitating an extra day to accommodate the sun’s position. Otherwise, the calendar’s days would eventually slide into different seasons!
Fun Leap Day Traditions
1. Ladies’ Day to Spring the Big Question
Look out, lads! According to Irish folklore, Saint Brigid and Saint Patrick struck a deal way back when allowing women to propose to men on leap day only. Legend has it that this was a way to equalize the rights of men and women much as Leap Day itself equalizes the calendar. But look out, gentlemen, because European tradition dictates that any man who refuses a lady’s leap day proposal has to buy her 12 pairs of gloves! This was originally to cover up the embarrassment of a naked engagement ring finger.
2. Luck and Leap Day
In Scotland, it was once believed that those born on Leap Day would be unlucky, just like those born on Friday the 13th. Greeks believe it’s unlucky to marry on Leap day, or even in a leap year, although certainly a leap day anniversary would only have to be remembered every four years! On another supernatural note, the first warrants for the Salem witchcraft trials were issued on February 29, 1692.
3. Celebrating the Leap Day Birthday
Leap day babies are known as leaplings, and technically only have a birthday every four years! However, they still celebrate in common years, whether on February 28 or March 1. Sometimes leaplings' birthdays, as far as coming of legal age, are determined by the country of birth. For instance, your official birthday is February 28th in New Zealand, but in the United Kingdom, you’ll have to wait until March 1st.
4. Leap Day World Records
Having a birthday on leap day is rare enough, but some record-holding families have several more. Guinness Book of Records cites the Keogh family as the only known family with three consecutive generations celebrating this unusual special day, patriarch Peter Anthony was born February 29, 1940, while his son Peter Eric was born on the same day in 1964 and Peter Eric’s Daughter was a leapling born in 1996. The current record for the family with most leaplings is Norway’s Henriksen family, with three leap day birthdays among their children!
5. Leap Day Capital of the World
Anthony, Texas is the self-proclaimed leap day capital. The town holds a huge celebration and birthday party for leaplings every four years with boisterous activities including a parade, concerts, carnival, hayrides, hot air balloons, a golf tournament, square dancing, a 10K race, and of course, a giant birthday party! The event has drawn people from all over the country and even overseas.
Leap into Some Fun
One of the best things about leap day is that it adds an extra day in February to get out and have a good time. One fun leap day tradition is to take a leap, whether into something new or something you’ve been meaning to get around to. And if you’ve been meaning to check out the good times at Isle Casino® Pompano Park, head over for some exciting gaming, thrilling live horse racing, luscious meals, cool cocktail joints, and live music.
Diner’s Choice winner Farraddays® Steak House is serving up some sizzling delights, while the Farmer’s Pick Buffet® lays out a farm-fresh spread right from our own back yard with everything from house-smoked ribs to mouth-watering, freshly baked desserts. Lucky Fan Club® members can take advantage of loads of leapin’ specials from a VIP lounge to Carnival® Cruise benefits on February 29th and every other day of the year!